New York Daily News
Court orders Wi-Fi into shelters by Sept.
The city must finish installing Wi-Fi in family homeless shelters by the end of August, according to a stipulation filed Monday in a lawsuit in Manhattan Federal Court.
While the city already said its plan was to finish installation by the end of the summer, the stipulation means that if the city blows past its own deadline, it will be in violation of a court order.
“We didn’t have a basis to trust that they were going to do it comprehensively and consistently and in a timely matter,” said Susan Horwitz, a lawyer for the Legal Aid Society, who represents homeless plaintiffs who sued the city over the lack of Wi-Fi in November. “We had to file this lawsuit in order to make sure the city would be held to their word.”
The settlement ends the lawsuit that demanded the city speed up its time line to get Wi-Fi into the shelters — calling for a January end date. The city never committed to that time frame.
The plan is to install Wi-Fi in 240 family homeless shelters and domestic violence shelters, which includes shelters the city plans to build. In the interim, the stipulation also created new requirements for how the Department of Education and the Department of Social Services will respond to complaints from homeless families in shelters about connectivity issues with their DOE-issued tablets.
Currently, many families in shelters are using DOE-issued tablets that connect not through Wi-Fi but through data.
Shelters are also now required to put up fact sheets instructing families how to report their connectivity issues to the DOE’s help desk, and the DOE is now required to reach out to families within one school day of them filing an iPad-related complaint.
The city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications did not immediately provide the Daily News with the number of shelters in which Wi-Fi has already been installed.